Kitchen Fun with the Kids

May 1, 2015

Cooking with your children is more than just a great bonding activity. Whether you are passing down time-tested secret family recipes or cooking up fresh and healthy new creations, you are equipping your kids with skills that will serve them well as they head toward adulthood. If you want to have a barrel of fun in the kitchen with your kids, follow these great tips:

Age-Appropriate Tasks

Kids under the age of five want to be a big help in the kitchen, but you’ll want to keep them away from knives and hot appliances. Toddlers and preschoolers can help with prep tasks like scrubbing potatoes, washing lettuce, stirring batter, removing corn husks, and measuring basic ingredients (like flour). Older kids can peel carrots, grate cheese, cut vegetables, crack eggs, and work around the stove, with adult supervision and a step stool if needed.

Get Creative

Especially if you are making a recipe with lots of wiggle room, encourage your kids to get involved in the process. If you are making cookies, ask your child if they would prefer chocolate chips or raisins. Let them choose what kind of nuts, dried fruits, or candy pieces to include. If you are making homemade pizza, let your child come up with a recipe all on their own. As long as they’re willing to eat it when it’s cooked, what’s wrong with finding out if anchovies and blueberries work together?

Getting Started

You probably don’t want your first kitchen session to involve a delicate soufflé. You can either start with no-cook recipes, or recipes that only involve an ingredient or two (like grilled cheese). Move on to recipes that are relatively fool-proof and can withstand some errors – and maybe even benefit from your experimentation. If your child continues to express interest, you can start teaching them basic recipes that everyone should know, like how to scramble an egg or how to make your family’s secret pasta sauce.

The Benefits

When your kids are involved in the kitchen, you will notice many benefits. When they understand how much preparation and clean up time is required to put a meal on the table, they will be more appreciative of everything you do. Use the time to help them learn about healthy food options, and how you can control every ingredient when you cook at home. Your child will learn valuable skills and get to enjoy delicious meals and snacks when it’s all over.

Whether you are the parent of a toddler or a teen, there’s plenty of time for kitchen fun.

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